Biodiversity in Wine Champion.
We are proud to announce that Schalkenbosch Wine Estate has been awarded Championship status by the Biodiversity in Wine Initiative, joining 14 other Estates in South Africa, such as Anglo American’s Vergelegen, Graham Beck, Backsberg, La Motte and Lourensford.
The initiative, which is supported by the WWF, presented the award in recognition of our commitment to conservation, good management and production practices.
The Western Cape winelands are home to more plant species than exist in the entire Northern Hemisphere. More especially, 70% of these plants are only found here and nowhere else in the world.
The world’s smallest yet richest plant kingdom is found in the Western Cape, the Cape Floral Kingdom and is recognised as a world Heritage site
A visit to Schalkenbosch in the months of July through September exposes the visitor to a number of rare species occurring in their natural habitat, including 6 almost extinct varieties. The research team from Kirstenbosch believe that others will be found when a more detailed study is undertaken.
Schalkenbosch has a strong environmental and social responsibility. We have placed 1000 ha under permanent stewardship of Cape Nature, ensuring that this land will be preserved for generations to come. An extensive programme for the rehabilitation of old lands and the eradication of alien plant species and centuries of erosion is the foundation on which this commitment rests.
In addition to this programme we have committed to the establishment of 25 emerging farmers. These farmers come from the previously disadvantaged community and comprise mainly of former farm labourers. They will receive mentorship and support from Schalkenbosch and will take ownership of their own piece of land, free of charge, in due course.
Every bottle of wine sold helps to contribute to these worthy programmes and to the upliftment of the indigenous peoples.
Schalkenbosch also has plans to reintroduce those species of animals which originally occurred in this area. This will supplement those animals that already occur naturally such as Leopard Lynx, Jackal, Grey(mountain) Reebok and many other small antelope.
Look for the Sugar bird sticker on our wines and know that each bottle you drink is actually helping the preservation of flora, fauna and the previously disadvantaged citizens of South Africa.
The origins of Bin 409
We are often asked this question. The unusual name came about as a dedication to the airmen of all nations who lost their lives in the last Great war. A tribute to all fallen aviators no matter their country, race or creed. My father, who was killed before I was born, was a pilot of Mosquito night fighters operating from France in the closing stages of World war Two. He was well known and considered a hero by many. Years later I had the privilege to take my family to France where a monument had been erected in his honour in the village of Willems. The dedication ceremony on the 23rd May 1997 was lead by the Vice President of France, other dignitaries and the Military attaches and senior officers of several countries. It was an extraordinary and moving experience as we met many of his wartime buddies as well as many of the local people who had known him.
We heard many interesting stories of how these young men lived and risked their lives daily. One of their main tasks was at night, to climb to a high altitude over the coast of France and watch for the exhaust flame of the V1 and V2 rockets that were being fired at London. Once spotted they needed the altitude to create the necessary speed in the dive to close on these jet engined bombs and shoot them down. On some of these missions they would run out of ammunition and then, without concern for their own safety, would dive and try and tip the rocket off balance with their own wing tip. This dangerous practice resulted in the toppling of the primitive gyro navigation system, allowing the bomb to fall harmlessly in the Channel. The Mosquito aircraft was well suited to this role being almost entirely of wood construction and powered by twin Rolls Royce Merlin engines.
As a former pilot myself and having served as an officer in the Rhodesian bush war I felt it appropriate to recognise the sacrifices of so many young men and in particular my father’s 409 squadron, Royal Canadian Air force.
The Bin 409 wine is made each year from a blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Mouverdre and viognier, all grown on the Schalkenbosch estate in Tulbagh. It seeks to emulate the style of the Southern Rhone in France and the percentages of each varietal may vary each year depending on harvest and growing conditions. Bin 409 is a complex wine with perfume, good colour and plenty of fruit. It spends 14 months in French and American oak, new and second and third fill barrels.
The cold weather has finally arrived, the vines have lost their leaves and are now dormant. This allows the teams to commence pruning, a long and arduous task which must be carried out by skilled workers. We have had good rains so far and the season’s first snow falls, appropriately over the last weekend when Tulbagh held its annual Christmas in winter festival. This event sees Santa Claus riding on a fire engine handing out sweets to all the children. The village is decked out in fairy lights with street stalls, music, wine, olives, and Christmas fare at all the restaurants, providing a festive atmosphere and fun for all.
We have just finished bottling the 2009 whites and are pleased to tell you that this year’s Sauvignon Blanc is loaded with fruit and surprisingly green notes, a really crisp and balanced wine for a hot Summer’s day, although I am now quite fond of drinking it at any time. We have also bottled an unwooded Chardonnay for the first time. We tried to make it in the North Italian style and again it has been a pleasant surprise with good fruit which has not been overpowered by wood, remaining a light pleasant white to drink.
For the Rusty fans.
The old dog continues to impress even though he can not quite clear the side of the Bakkie as athletically as he used to and has to suffer the indignity of us lowering the tailgate while Oscar, the young upstart, clears the side with ease. But once aboard the old man takes pride of place and makes sure the youngster knows who is ‘top dog’. Oscar is learning fast and is developing a nice character of his own.
Wishing all our friends and customers in the northern hemisphere a very happy summer filled with good weather and lots of Edenhof wine.